There are three close cousin words in the English language that can be easily confused. These words are insure vs. ensure vs. assure. Distinguishing the words in this word trio one from another is made difficult by the tendency of people to pronounce them the same.
Main Insure vs. Ensure vs. Assure Takeaways:
Here is a key to help you keep the words insure, ensure, and assure straight and to aid you in knowing when to use each word.
- Insure – a legal agreement
- Ensure – taking action steps
- Assure – a verbal promise
- To insure is to cover someone or something with an insurance policy.
- To ensure something is to make sure or certain that something will happen, that is, to make a guarantee to get it done.
- To assure is to remove someone’s doubts or fears through a verbal promise.
Examples to put it all together:
- I assure you, when I insure the property, the policy will ensure that any losses will be compensated.
- If I insure the house to ensure better coverage, will this assure you that we will be secure?
- When you insure your property, I assure you that you are taking the right steps to ensure you are covered.
- I will insure this to assure you that it will ensure we are safe.
The three words insure vs. ensure vs. assure, however, are not homophones – that is, they do not sound the same if they are pronounced correctly. The first letters “i”, “e”, and “a” create a different sound despite the similarities. In addition to a similar pronunciation, it also doesn’t help that the three words share similar definitions. All three of these words share the same connotation of making an outcome to be sure.
Despite the similarities, however, the words insure, ensure, and assure each have different meanings and unique usage. Knowing the difference will enable you to use the correct word in the appropriate situation. Even though the three words insure, ensure, and assure are similar, they each have distinctly different meanings. How can you know how to use them properly?
Insure vs. Ensure vs. Assure
Let’s look at each one. Here you will see each word defined, see similar words, the words used in example sentences, and see a tip on when it is appropriate to use each word. Once you see how each word is different from the others, you will know how to use them correctly and will be equipped to know when to use insure, ensure and assure in conversation and in writing.
When To Use Insure
To insure is to cover something with an insurance policy. To insure is the legal steps taken to create an agreement between the insurance company and the one who is insured that if something happens to the insured person or property, the insuring company will provide financial compensation.
It should be noted that some linguistic authorities outside the United States consider insure and ensure synonymous and interchangeable. This usage is generally in the case of insurance policies. Despite this ambiguity, insure is still the preferred word used to refer to a legal insurance coverage agreement.
Some similar words for insure are: protect, cover, underwrite, shield, guarantee, warrant, hedge, safeguard.
*You use the word insure when you are talking about and dealing with an insurance policy.
- I took out a policy with this company to insure my property.
- It’s a good thing we decided to insure our house for flood damage before the river overflowed its banks.
- The insurance agent wrote a policy to help us insure our new boat.
- It is the law to insure your car.
- It is a good idea to insure your belongings with a renter’s insurance policy even though your landlord has property insurance.
When To Use Ensure
To ensure is to make sure that something will happen. It is to have or to do what is necessary to achieve success. To ensure is to take action and the outcome is the result of one’s efforts. The meaning of ensure is to make certain that something will happen and when someone ensures, they are taking deliberate steps to follow up on a promise or commitment.
Some similar words for ensure are: secure, guarantee, certify, confirm, verify, make sure, make certain, see to it.
*You use the word ensure when you are talking about the action, specified or implied, that you are taking to make sure something will take place.
- This is my action plan to ensure our success.
- I will be conscientious with my work to ensure nothing will go wrong.
- My promise should ensure you that I will do what you asked.
- The safety steps are taken to ensure accidents won’t happen.
- Adding more wood to the fire will ensure keeping us warm.
When To Use Assure
To assure is to make a promise and to state that promise with confidence and certainty. To assure, therefore, is to remove doubt or uncertainty with the goal of building confidence in another. When you assure someone of something, you are making them confident of it. The one who assures is involved primarily in a verbal activity rather than of taking action.
Some similar words for assure are: reassure, convince, satisfy, guarantee, promise, prove to, certify to, attest to, swear to, pledge to, vow to, and give one’s word to.
*You use the word assure when you are making a verbal commitment.
- I assure you that the event will take place.
- I am saying this to assure you that things will work out okay.
- Would you please assure the passengers that all will be well?
- Having the safeguards in place did a lot to assure me of our safety.
- We assure you that all contingencies have been taken under consideration.
Insure vs. Ensure
Some American dictionaries give ensure as a synonym to insure, thus suggesting that these words can be used one instead of the other in a sentence. Even though this might be the case in spoken English, there is a difference between these two verbs. If you want to speak correctly and have other people understand exactly what you want to say, it’s important to know it.
Insure vs. Ensure Definition
Insure is the term mostly used when you’re talking about safeguarding yourself or your property against loss or damage, i.e. when you’re getting insurance. Ensure, on the other hand, means “to guarantee, to make sure”.
- How much will it cost to insure my car against accident?
- Many companies won’t insure young drivers.
- I will ensure that the car arrives by six o’clock.
- The campaign will hopefully ensure the survival of the tiger.
When to Use Ensure vs. Insure
Let’s say that you want to buy insurance for your car. This example is easy: you’d say, “I want to insure my car”. Or, let’s say that someone stole the painting that was hanging on a wall in one of your friend’s house. You might say, “He wasn’t worried about what happened because the painting was insured“.
In a different example, let’s say that your aunt wants to visit you but she doesn’t want to arrive at your door when you aren’t home. So, she wants to call you before getting on the bus, so you’re ready to greet her thirty minutes later. One of the things she can tell you is, “I’ll call you to ensure that you are home”.
You can even use these two words in the same sentence: “I want to ensure that this house is insured“. In other words, you want to make sure that this house is legally safeguarded against damage.
How can you remember which word fits in which sentence? If you’re talking about insurance, go for insure. If you can replace the verb with “make sure”, ensure is what you’re looking for.
Insure vs. Ensure Examples:
|An insurance company will insure your life.
They refused to insure us because they said we’re too old.
You should insure the painting for at least ￡100,000.
Vaccinations insure one against diseases.
No one will insure him because of his heart condition.
|We can ensure that the work shall be done in the right way.
Our role is to ensure liaison between schools and parents.
The shoe has a special strap to ensure correct fit.
They could not ensure a smooth transfer of political power.
No one can ensure that he’ll come.
How to Use Ensure vs. Insure | Infographic
Ensure vs. Insure: Difference between Insure vs. Ensure